A Sunset Symphony

Blogging challenges, Spain

Was it really in January this year that we were in Cádiz? It feels like another era, but one I can summon up in my head by remembering the glory of the sunsets we saw there. You’ll have seen at least some of these photos before, but this is your Virtual Holiday for the week. I’m presenting them to Jude for her Photo Challenge this week, and to Becky – well, one of them anyway – for her October Squares. How kind of me to share!

2020 Photo Challenge #41

#Kinda Square

Everything Points to the Cathedral

Blogging challenges, Spain

I’ve shown this image before, but it’s a textbook  demonstration of perspective – everything here leads your eye to the cathedral in Cádiz – so let’s give it another outing – squared up of course – for Day Ten of Square Perspectives.

Were we really only there in January?  It feels like another life, a different world.  And look at that clear, warm light!  Ah well …

Keep Right on to the Top of the Road

Blogging challenges, London, North Yorkshire

‘Look for converging lines’, instructs Jude.  They’re there to add depth and distance, so she wants to see what we can find as illustrations.  So I went to Cádiz, I went to Brussels, I went to Yorkshire – of course.  And finally I went to London.

Here we are on the road by the seafront in Cádiz. The road, our eyes are lead inexorably towards the Cathedral.

Now we’re in Brussels. I quite like it that the street’s more easily seen in the plate glass reflection. And that the lines on the window, and on the pavement are also working towards converging.

Since the Tour de France started in Yorkshire in 2014, dear old Buttertubs has been elevated to being called Côte de Buttertubs. You can cycle it yourself … or not. Look at this picture and decide.

Nothing can top your very first ever walk in the snow. This was William’s first chance, back when he was three.

2020 Photo Challenge #16

#Squaretops 22

Vertically Challenged


It’s time for Jude’s 2020 Photo Challenge again, and this week, she’s asking us to focus on the vertical.  It’s not surprising that I’m heading for cityscapes on the whole: though not entirely.  I wanted to have something for #15 Squaretops too – so look out for a topsy-turvy image at the bottom of the post.

Here are two riverside skyscrapers: quite similar.  But I like the way that in one – in Seville, on the Guadalquivir – the upward sweeping lines are emphasised by its reflection rippling on the waters beneath: and in the other – in London, on the Thames – it’s the contrast with the blocky cranes that does the job.

Then I chose a couple from Cádiz.  Palm trees.  In one the tall palms lead your eyes to the – rather small – moon, and in the other, two wayward palms making an impromptu arch contrast with the properly upright trees they’re next to.

Back in London, Greenwich actually, the standing figures echo the massed skyscrapers of modern 21st century London.

And I liked this shot from Warsaw. The vertical lines aren’t all that pronounced, but still lead you up to those precariously perched window cleaners.

Finally, an image (square of course) taken on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal near Gargrave.  Have you noticed it’s upside down? Topsy turvy? That’s the water up above, and the trees and sky down below.

Holidays with Horizontal Lines

Blogging challenges, North Yorkshire

I’ve  been staying close to home for most of my recent posts.  But today, I’m going to travel – only virtually, so no harm done.

I’m going to take you on a ship, to the seaside, and on sunny days out in Yorkshire: not for a holiday (though why not?) but in quest of horizontal lines, as requested by Jude in her Photography Challenge.

Let’s start in Cádiz.  Was it really only three months ago that we were there, enjoying street life, as Spaniards always do, or joining them on the beaches for sunsets such as this one?  It feels like another, impossible world.

Here are two views from the North Sea: one of wind farms near Rotterdam: one of a wonderfully impressive evening sky.  In each case, the horizontal line of the sea at the horizon adds to the drama of the scene.

More bucolic is this shot taken on Sutton Bank in Yorkshire at harvest time.

And here we are just up the road in Masham.  I like this straight line of barbed wire with sheep’s wool snaggled along its length.

But let’s finish off with a Top Square, of a cormorant atop the end of the pier at Whitby.  I like the way the bird’s striking silhouette is complemented by the rigid geometric shape of the pier.

Horizontal lines. Useful devices to peg a scene on, and to keep your camera straight.

2020 Photo Challenge#14

#Square Tops 11


Wandering round Cádiz

Blogging challenges, Spain

Near the Cathedral, walking by the Atlantic.

Do you want to come for a walk with me in Cádiz?  Let’s see.  We’ll want to see the Cathedral and its museum; the former Cathedral; the Roman Theatre; the Mercado Central; the Castillo de Santa Catalina; the monument to Cortes of Cádiz, promulgators of the Spanish constitution in 1812; the city walls …..

That sounds too much?  You’re right.  Let’s just go for a stroll instead, and see what turns up.

We’ll start out from our hotel. It was a convent once, and while it’s still a spacious and gracious place, we didn’t have to get up in the small hours to pray.

We’re surrounded by a warren of old streets just like this.

And just down the street is this greengrocer, with its inviting wall display that changes every day.

Breakfast first though.  Let’s find a bar.  We’re having a large glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, pan con tomate (grilled bread with grated raw tomato and a drizzle of olive oil), and a good strong coffee.

This is from an earlier holiday. But it’s still our standard breakfast.

We needed to post a letter on our first day.  It took us ages to find somewhere.  And  it’s here, in the wall of the Central Post Office.  That was once a convent too.

And look!  These narrow streets need protection from ill-driven carriages crashing into them,  Corners of buildings are kept intact by covering them with metal plates, or even using redundant canons from the Napoleonic wars.

We haven’t been to the market yet.  It’s in the hub of the city, and all about the fish: stall after stall of it.  It’s hard to believe there’s anything left in the sea.  Fruit and veg., meat and cheese and all the rest come a poor second here.

We said no sightseeing.  But we have to pop into the cathedral – mind that crane!

The Cathedral interior.

And climb the tower for views over the city.

The industrial face of Cadiz, and a distant view of Puente de la Constitucion, 1812

You’re never more then a minute or two from the sea here.  Views? Of course there are.  But there are also community-driven cats’ homes, randomly furnished with boxes and cast-off carpets, and lots and lots of cats.

And while we’re walking along the seafront – look at this.  It’s a ficus macrophylla – a giant kind of fig tree, allegedly brought back from India as seedlings round about 900 by two nuns.  It’s too big to photograph really.

This ficus was easier to photograph at night.

And here’s La Casa de las Cinco Torres (five houses, despite the name), built facing the sea in the 18th century, to make a fine impression on incoming visitors.

La Casa de las Cinco Torres.

Time for a drink now?  You’re in sherry country (Jerez is just down the road), so let’s go where the locals go, and ask for some advice about what to choose.  Here’s Taberna Manzanilla. Malcolm was offered a 7 year old number, but mine was 14 years old, and accompanied by a local sheep-and-goat cheese. What will you choose?

We could just as well choose La Manteca.  Either way, decorating the interior with bull-fighting posters seems obligatory.

Tired now?  Well, mooch round a bit then – here are some entirely random images.


Then we’ll finish off the day in the fisherman’s quarter, La Viña , at la Tabernita, a family concern only open at the back end of the week, and weekends, share a few tapas, and wander back to the hotel.

An entry for Jo’s Monday Walk Jo – I don’t think this walk will get past Quality Control, as it’s a composite.  But I just couldn’t pick one!

Cádiz, Cádiz, Cádiz

Blogging challenges, Spain

We’ve been wandering round Cádiz, Cádiz, Cádiz today. That’s what you call the city if you live in the ancient town. Once names the province, twice the whole city, modern bits and all. Three times, and you lay claim to living in the oldest continuously occupied city in Europe, founded by the Phoenicians in 1100 BC.

Only doesn’t it sound more immediate to say ‘founded by the Syrians and Lebanese’? Because that’s what Phoenicia has become. And Cádiz had its place too in one of the twelve labours of Hercules. It was here that our hero was tasked with separating Europe from Africa. As you know, he succeeded.

We went on a walking tour of the city. How I love these. Local guides love to help you poke your nose into those parts of the town that the guide books don’t reach.

We explored pre-mediaeval Cádiz, the vast fish market and flower market, and got a flavour of La Viña, fishermen’s Cádiz, severely flooded as a consequence of the Lisbon earthquake on November 1st 1755, but now a laid–back, cheerful place to go and party and eat freshly cooked fish caught only hours before.

Cádiz, Cádiz, Cádiz. Love it.

A bright sight to invite appetite!

Moonlight. Street lights. Reflected lights. The Cathedral of Cádiz in the twilight.

January Squares: January Light